Accurate estimating and forecasting of project costs has always been a big priority in the construction industry. Today, as more organizations are working on tighter profit margins, this has become even more important. As the needs of the industry grow and evolve, the technology to assist these processes continues to develop as well.

For example, this week, WinEstimator, www.winest.com, Kent, Wash., announced the release of Modelogix 3, which is the company’s cost-modeling and conceptual-estimating software.

The technology allows estimators to search a history of estimating information during the initial budget development to better determine costs for a project. Using an inflationary price-index feature, teams can then adjust costs to today’s prices.

The new release includes a Metrics feature that provides more than 20 customizable data types and cost centers so users can analyze cost models. These capabilities allow construction companies to analyze the cost model in ways that are most meaningful to their organization.

General Growth Properties, www.ggp.com, Chicago, Ill., a shopping center and retail property owner, was one of the members of a focus group using the new technology. Chris Rasmussen, database analyst, General Growth Properties, says the new product captures actual project costs in a systematic way that enables the company to benchmark future projects of similar scope and demand.

In particular, he adds the ability to adjust cost data using any combination of different work-breakdown structures, at different levels, is critical. With the technology, work-breakdown structure variances are displayed according to user preferences. The system also allows users to analyze what-if scenarios in the cost model.

In addition to new features such as the Metrics feature and inflationary cost indexes, the technology also allows users to apply key project attributes to past work, allowing users to filter through past projects by preference quickly.

For the construction industry, technology such as this can help more accurately assess future project costs based on historical data. It is exciting to see software advancing to meet the needs of construction companies in today’s market. Going forward, the industry is bound to see more products and features such as this coming to market.